Supermarket Trust

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One of my favorite places
to go was the
supermarket.
No joke.
The long wooden shelves
running across the wide, white floor
held everything for me;
a cornucopia of delicious edibles
along with a back section
dedicated entirely
to toys.
Mom always warned me,
Stay by my side
and usually,
it held with me.

But not this time.

The candy lured me towards it,
an entire aisle
of sugared delicacies,
a spectrum of neon colors,
boldly projecting their infamous name brands,
Snickers
Hersheys
Kit-Kat.
I was mesmerized,
and my feet wandered off
as if on their own.

Suddenly,
I snapped out of my reverie.

Where was Mom?

The woman who had been
intently comparing dishwasher soaps
right behind me
was now gone
with the rickety metal cart.
My heart sped,
Thu-thump, thu-thump,

She was there a minute ago…


Sweets forgotten,
I raced between the shelves,
my rubber sandals pounded the linoleum,
Slap, slap, slap, slap.
Shoppers giving me dirty looks,
as I hurry past them,
flying, almost,
a whirlwind of worry.

At the intersection,
between the veggie area
and the dairy products
I halted.
The rubber on my soles
squeaked violently,
and I imagined
smoking fishtails
two lines of black ash.

Fluorescent lights
blinded me,
and I got
a head rush
as I caught my breath.

I had always suspected
she’d leave me
in an airport bathroom
but never
here.
I trusted supermarkets.

Then,
strolling through
an aisle where silence reigned
devoid of people,
yet abundant with toilet paper,
I stopped again.

My eyes widened,
and the figurative light bulb brightened with a
Ping!
above my dirty-blonde bob.

If you get lost,
you know where to go…

I did.

My feet blurred below me,
as my heart accelerated,
to match the beat
of my feet;
my soles
were on a roll.

I scrambled out
of aisle 5
and made my way
to the check-out counters.

I whispered fervently,
in the cashier’s ear;
this was
my last hope.

He nodded.

Picking up a slim microphone,
he mouthed some words
that were unheard
to me
until they boomed out
from the speakers above
and echoed across the array of shelves.

MRS. ZIFF
PLEASE REPORT TO THE COUNTER
YOUR DAUGHTER IS HERE.

I imagined,
those words
in blocky handwriting
bouncing around the room
being taken in
by many ears.






My eyes frantically skimmed
the crowd of shoppers
milling about by the counters,
none of them even
remotely resembling
the one I was searching for.

All of a sudden,
a familiar face
broke out of the throng
pushing forth
a rickety cart,
glancing worriedly
towards me.

Mommy!

I threw my arms around her waist,
so relieved was I to find her.
She started talking,
and words of concern
poured over my head
drenching me in their throbbing anxiety.

As she told the tale
of her hunt for me
throughout the supermarket,
my eyes flicked back to the candy aisle.

Finally,
as she took my hand in hers,
with a somber

Don’t EVER do that again.

I glanced up at her,
beamed,
and breezily asked

Can I have a Hershey bar?





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